A Mainstreet Research poll released yesterday points to the potential for a historic victory by the Ontario Progressive Conservatives in the June 9th general election.
Doug Ford’s Tories enjoy the support of 50.3% of decided and leaning voters. In comparison, Kathleen Wynne’s tired Liberal government is at 23.9% support. The Andrea Horvath lead NDP have the support of 18.3% of voters with the remainder of the vote going to the Greens.
How Support Levels Translate To Seats Won
It isn’t readily apparent why a party that has a bare majority of support in public opinion would be headed towards such an overwhelming majority in the Ontario legislature. The reason Doug Ford appears to be headed toward a massive governing majority is the nature of electing members to individual ridings. The system, colloquially known as ‘first past the post’ (FPTP), rewards parties for strengths in particular regions.
Parties with broad support but no concentrated areas of support are harshly punished under our current electoral system. The federal election of 1993 was an example of the cruel nature of FPTP. The governing PCs received 16% of the vote nationally, but because there support was spread throughout the country they only received two seats in parliament.
The Bloq Quebecois and Reform Party were regional parties who benefitted from FPTP. The BQ only received 13.5% of the national vote, but because their support was regional, they won 54 seats in parliament. The Reformers enjoyed slightly more support than the PCs at 18.7%, but they won 52 seats thanks to concentrated regional support.
There is ample historical evidence supporting a gigantic parliamentary victory with a bare minimum of majority public support. The last time a party won the majority of the vote in Ontario was 1937. Mitchell Hepburn’s Liberals won 51.6% of the vote, which translated to 63 of the 86 seats in the provincial legislature.
The last time a party won a majority of the votes in a federal election was in 1984. Brian Mulroney’s PCs won 50.03% of the votes cast. This slimmest of majorities lead to the PCs winning 211 out of the 282 seats in parliament. No other party has ever won 200 seats in parliament; despite the fact, there are now 56 more ridings represented in the House of Commons.
Why Are The Ford-led Progressive Conservatives Headed To A Massive Victory?
If Ford’s PCs can hold the levels of support reported by Mainstreet they are headed to a huge parliamentary majority because their support is located throughout all regions of the province. The PCs enjoy majority support in the following regions: the GTA, Eastern Ontario, South Central Ontario and Southwestern Ontario. This level of support points to massive victories of 75% of the seats or more in these regions.
In the North and Toronto, the PCs hold a little over 40% of the support of the electorate. This level of support indicates the PCs would win a bare majority of the seats in these areas. The idea of the PCs being shutout in Toronto wasn’t outrageous three months ago. The swing in the polls indicates how fortuitous the Patrick Brown leadership fiasco was for the conservative movement in Canada’s largest province.